In the midst of the noisy, traffic-riddled streets of Bengaluru’s Indiranagar are a few canopied stretches surrounding the BDA Complex that provide the much-needed relief to residents.
Hundreds of trees line the road connecting Old Madras Road and CMH Road. Around 200 of them are located on the periphery of the BDA Complex. Many of the trees on the back end of the complex are over 70 years old.
Now, the Bengaluru Development Authority is planning to chop down 171 trees in order to redevelop the BDA Complex.
The 30-year-old complex will soon be demolished and a new two-unit complex will come in its place. “The trees may be cut in a few days, depending on when the construction will begin,” a BDA official said.
According to the source, BDA is likely to get the environmental clearance to cut the tees as some of the trees listed are not protected under the Environment Protection Act. These include peepal, banyan, Indian beech, tulip tree, rain tree, silver oak, orchid tree, cherry, champak, java plum, mango, lemon, neem, coconut, jackfruit, subabul tamarind and custard apple trees.
“The BDA complex is currently not making profits. The earning per annum is somewhere between Rs 2 and 5 crore. BDA owns the 6.03 acres of land surrounding the complex and, even though so much land is there, the current complex sits on a plot of 3.28 acres of land. With the new complex, BDA can earn revenue,” the official added.
The construction period will be for two years and BDA will accommodate the existing tenants and the RTO office within the complex itself. BDA has also proposed to have a total built up area of 14.95 lakh sq. feet from the two blocks. The project will be executed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
Maverick Holdings and Investments Pvt Ltd, Embassy Group and MFAR developers Pvt Ltd have taken part in the third tender which was called for in August 2017. Maverick Holdings and Investments Pvt. Ltd is the lead partner of the joint venture. The project cost is estimated at Rs 675 crore.
“The BDA is a profit-making entity. When something under our jurisdiction is not profitable, it is our duty to ensure that revenue is generated. Once the new complex comes up in Indiranagar, it can generate Rs 38 crore profit,” the official said.
Reacting strongly to the BDA’s move, Swarna Venkataraman, secretary of Indiranagar 1st Stage resident welfare association, said that the residents of the area will come together and oppose BDA’s move as the complex is located within 75 m of the Kadirenapalya Lake’s buffer zone
“The area near the BDA Complex is known for its green cover. There is a lake within 75 m. There is a primary storm water drain within 25 m of the complex. According to the National Green Tribunal’s order, no construction can come up in a lake or a stormwater drain’s buffer zone. This is illegal. Besides, BDA did not carry out any public consultation before deciding to chop off so many trees,” she added.